Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kathy Griffin Fired from Hannah Montana

I'm going to see Kathy Griffin perform in Boston on Saturday, May 3rd and I'm very excited. Her brand of humor is cutting and sarcastic - just the way I like my comedy.

The popular website JustJared is reporting that Kathy was recently axed from the popular Disney Channel show, Hannah Montana, because she told Jesus to "suck-it". A Disney Channel executive said it isn't so. I could not imagine why they would want to have Kathy on their network she has repeatedly mentioned how much children drive her crazy. I love her humor but I doubt she sits well with Disney's viewership.

I'm curious if she will mention the recent news in her stand up on Saturday...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wright Wrong? Who cares?

Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's former minister, spoke to the National Press Club in Washington D.C. today. You can read the full transcript here or you can watch the NBC video here.

His comments were hardly humble and his tone anything but conciliatory. For his part, Jeremiah Wright answered questions about some of his more inflamatory sermons, but I doubt that his explanations will matter to most in the public. I found some of his responses humorous and others confusing but Rev. Wright's comments are not of much interest to me. I recognize that I am in the distinct minority (yet again) and am left scratching my head wondering why people would change their support for Obama because of his past association with the Reverend. Obama's views with regards to our foreign policy, monetary policy, economy, healthcare, energy independence, etc... have not changed in light of the Rev. Wright's words so why would I not support him if I agree with those views (views which I see as important to my life and those of my neighbors)?

Democratic Party supporters have a right to be concerned if Obama becomes consumed by the controversy or if Party supporters feel that he could not mount a successful general election campaign because of the commercials Republican 501(c)3 organizations are certain to run against him. However, I am hopeful that this situation allows Obama to rise like the mythological Phoenix and prove himself to those who say he is 'untested'. If his campaign is de-railed by the words of Rev. Wright then that would be a shame in my mind, but I would gladly support Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is not my first choice but I think she would represent the Party well in a general election and prove to be a formidable opponent.

Time will tell how this all plays out and I for one can hardly wait. As a self-proclaimed political junkie the Primary Season has been one for the record books.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Recently I was told that I needed to add some pictures or movement to my blog because it was getting boring. I was surprised that anyone I knew was even checking out this site, because I tend to consider it more of an online journal to record my thoughts and occassional rants. However, vanity being what it is, I decided that I would take the critique in stride and do my best to add more visual stimulation (at least for this blog entry).

Earlier this week I was sent a collection of cartoons that poke fun at the rising gas prices. I am lucky that I can walk to work each day, but my partner does have a 40 mile roundtrip commute each day and I know that many people have been impacted by rising gas prices. I'm tempted to use this entry to go on and on about how energy independence and more environmentally friendly options need to be explored,but I will refrain (this time).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Last week pro-Tibetan forces were able to draw worldwide attention to protest China's deplorable history of violating human right and their brutal occupation of Tibet by launching massive protests along the Olympic torch route in London, Paris and San Francisco. The protesters in London actually snatched the torch briefly, in Paris the run had to be suspended and in San Francisco a huge banner could be seen flying from the Golden Gate Bridge.

I believe that these public displays only served to outrage Chinese officials rather than raise awareness for the pro-Tibetan cause and while it probably was a source of embarassment for the local Chinese diplomats in those countries, I doubt that the Chinese and Tibetans were even aware of the world outcry (if you could call it that).

A week after these protests, there is not a single mention of these groups in the U.S. news that would help raise awareness or share their message with a broader audience. So I'm left wondering if all the organization and protests had the effect groups were hoping for? Perhaps the situation is different in Europe. It seems to me that Europeans do tend to focus more on international news than in the United States so perhaps the protests were not in vain. However, I think a more effective way to express outrage with the Chinese government's occupation of Tibet and blatant disregard for human rights is to encourage US and European firms to stop investing in China and educate their citizens so they can purchase products that are made in other nations. All of southeast Asia is hungry for economic investment as is much of the developing world (e.g. Middle East, South and Central America). Flexing our collective economic muscle will have more of an impact on the Chinese government than raising fists on the street in protest. I think I'm just getting old and grumpy - once upon a time I probably would have been rushing out into the street to join those Tibetan protesters.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Apartment Transformation

I moved into my current 2BR / 2BA apartment in the South End nearly 5 years ago, and while the neighborhood has changed significantly in that time, until recently the same could not have been said about my home. Prior to moving in, a hasty paint job was done, but not much else had changed until last month.

Pooling resources with my other half, using some money from Christmas and looking for deals we have been able to take a first step in providing a needed facelift to our home. Most of the changes have taken place in our bedroom - for the first time since leaving my parents house I have an actual bedframe and matching furniture. We still have a few more updates to make to the bedroom before we turn our attention to other rooms in our home, but I am really pleased with the changes.

We both love our home, but after 5 years the updates were necessary to bring back the feeling of homeowner pride. The apartment does not quite look tired, but certainly we were both tired of looking at the space as it was.

City is Buzzing

Marathon weekend started with beautiful weather and continued through last night, but today was decidedly cooler and tomorrow (Marathon Monday) will be downright chilly in the shade with temperatures hovering in the upper 50s if the local meteorologists are correct. I'll be bundling up to see the Red Sox (hopefully) sweep the Texas Rangers. Then I will meet up with friends to cheer on the runners and try to see a few friends who I know are running in this year's marathon.

The city is abuzz with all the excitement. Adding to all the drama, the Bruins have done an amazing job evening the playoff series against the Canadiens proving the pundits wrong and showing that they deserved their playoff bid. The Celtics have started their playoff series against Atlanta as well so there is a little bit of something for everyone this weekend. Now if only the sun will do its part and warm up the city a bit more everything will be perfect.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Marathon Fever Hits Boston

It is Marathon weekend in Boston with the 112th Race scheduled for Monday, Patriot's Day (April 21). Just walking around you can see that the city is abuzz readying for Marathon Monday. This is another tradition I love about Boston and look forward to each year. As with Easter, the Marathon is another one of those events that I automatically associate with the spring season. I hope the weather is sunny and a bit warmer than the mid50s that is forecast.

In addition, I'll be going to my first Red Sox game of the season so I'm really looking forward to the long weekend and hope to have a lot of fun cheering for the Red Sox and then visiting the race to look for my friend Paul who is running his first marathon.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What does the word family mean and how are our perceptions of the word changing? I looked up the definition and according to Merriam Webster Family has many definitions, but the first two seemed to fit with what I perceive to be traditionally held concepts.

Pronunciation: \'fam-lē
Function: noun
1: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head: household
2: a group of persons of common ancestry

The subject has been top of mind lately because a family member has been struggling and the issues this person has been dealing with came to a head on Monday. Fortunately, the family swooped in and was able to provide the support he so badly needed, but it made me sad that I had not spoken up sooner or inserted myself (forcefully if necessary) to get in his face before the situation became so grim. I can only assume he must have been feeling very lonely lately which is sad because we all live so close to each other and genuinely enjoy getting together.

The isolation that comes from feeling alone - truly alone - is difficult to deal with day after day. I can recall those feelings as a teenager and my early 20s. However, I did have a family that was present, and I'm certain that despite feeling distant and alone their presence helped keep me grounded. I would not like to think what might have been my destiny if they were not there. For my relative's sake, we all need to be a bit more present to help keep him grounded.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Margaret Cho

Tonight I am going to see Margaret Cho at the Orpheum. Margaret is a raunchy, pull no punches loud mouth who laces her comedy with a political punch. I have watched her performances ("I'm the one that I want", "Notorious C.H.O", etc) for years. Last year I enjoyed watching her emcee the True Colors Tour when it came to Boston. However, tonight should be far more entertaining and I am excited to get out and hear her act. I can only imagine what she might have to say about the our current President and the Democratic Primary.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A lot has been made of the contentious primary season in the Democratic Party (negative campaigning and botched primaries in MI and FL), but I think that the race has sharpened both Clinton and Obama and will better prepare who ever wins the nomination for the general election.

Both candidates have done a great job grabbing the headlines away from the Republicans allowing the candidates to define themselves on their own terms while lobbing repeated criticisms at McCain and Bush's policies. Unlike the press and many Democrats (according to the press) I think that a nominee will emerge in the weeks that follow and the party will be better for it.

All one has to do is look at how much money both candidates have raised and compare that to the money the Republican Party has raised and one gets a sense of how much people want a change at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Who can say for certain what will happen in November but with Clinton and Obama collectively raising $60M in the month of March after several months of record-setting fund raising, I can not help but be optimistic and excited about the campaign.

I really do think that both candidates have inspired an entire generation and political science teachers will for years refer back to how history was re-defined when Clinton and Obama ran a hard fought (and sometimes bruising) race for their Party's nomination.

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my mother's birthday and I wanted to recognize her. She is one of my absolute favorite people and a personal hero of mine; in addition to being a great Mom.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bush Administration Memo Approved Torture

Rarely am I disgusted with my government. Well rarely am I totally disgusted with my government, but the news that the Pentagon released a now defunct memo from the Bush administration outlining the legal justifications and loopholes to torture "enemy combatants" really made me sick to my stomach. Even the term "enemy combatant" upsets me - because what they really mean is people. Perhaps they are mean, awful, terrible individuals but they are people all the same. The irony that life is sacred to Bush while it is in a woman's womb is not lost on me. I suppose the lesson is after birth life must not be as valuable or special.

The News Hour discussed this subject for a good 10 minutes tonight on the evening news and for the life of me I'm still at a total loss to understand why / how we have allowed this administration to undercut our moral authority and reputation both in the world and at home (at least with Americans who feel as I do). Clearly the U.S. is not a rogue or terrorist nation. Obviously our country has contributed to the cause of human rights. And certainly most Americans believe that life (regardless of who we are talking about) is something to be treasured and treated with respect. So how can a Justice Department memo, dated March 14, 2003 written by former staffer John Yoo, that offered a defense if an interrogator was charged with violating U.S. or international laws for torturing enemy combatants even exist? How can the Bush Administration not see the damage he has inflicted on the repuation of the country? Considering he (Bush) has such a moralistic view on life, I can not understand how he justifies his actions - is he haunted by his decisions? I'm not left with that impression (not that it would make me feel better about what he has done). I am thoroughly disgusted and at a loss for words to adequately address this topic. I can only refer back to an earlier posting I wrote in late 2007 when waterboarding was a hot subject discussed in the news called "What Are Values?"

Meeting in New York City

On Monday I hopped on the Acela to get to New York City. My boss had arranged a team dinner and an all day meeting to follow on Tuesday so everyone could meet each other and to address a number of ongoing projects. I arrived into town and stayed at the Dylan Hotel around the corner from the office. The hotel was convenient and clean, but I'm a starwood guy so on future visits I doubt I will stay there. However, since this was my first visit, I wanted some place close to the mother-ship for my meeting and the location simply could not be beat.

It was great to meet everyone, because it helped me feel more connected to the team. I really like working virtually, but I need to feel personally connected. Plus it was really fun eating at Tao Restaurant and spending the day at the corporate headquarters. I had a spectacular view of Midtown's skyline.